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The world is watchingInternational law firm Dewey Ballantine has had to “keep apologising” after a flippant comment in an all-points email was condemned by its Asian associates.A…

The world is watching

International law firm Dewey Ballantine has had to “keep apologising” after a flippant comment in an all-points email was condemned by its Asian associates.

A partner in the firm’s London office responded to a message seeking someone to adopt a puppy with: “Don’t let them go to a Chinese restaurant”. The firm’s lawyers are now reported to be going through their second round of “sensitivity training” following a skit performed at a dinner last year when lawyers mocked stereotypical Asian accents to the tune of “Hello Dolly,” singing that they were “so solly” that the firm was closing its Hong Kong office.

After learning of the email response, a group of Asian-American bar associations and 36 Asian-American law student organisations have also sent a letter to the firm asking “what proactive steps you intend to take to prevent the recurrence of such a racial incident at your firm.”

Bill fits the perpetrator

The prizes for penalties out of all proportion to the crime go to Finland and Brazil this week.

Due to traffic fines being levied according to income in Finland, millionaire Jussi Salonoja was last week served with a $280,000 speeding ticket for exceeding a 40kmh limit in central Helsinki. This trumps Anssi Vanjoki’s — then executive vice president of Nokia’s mobile phones division — original fine two years ago of $192,000 after he was caught speeding at 73kmh in a 50kmh zone on a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, the Star-Ledger reports Douglas Skolnick, from New Jersey, became the second American to regret raising his middle finger at Brazilian authorities after he was fined $24,000 for “showing contempt to authorities”. Skolnick said he did it as a joke, imitating the American Airlines pilot Dale Robin Hersh, who was fined $17,000, jailed and deported for the same offence last month.

Mob still a prob in Sicily

The Mafia has apparently recently used confusion over the euro as an excuse to bump up prices for their protection rackets. Bosses in Sicily as much as doubled protection payment during the confusing transitional period. Until the end of 2001 small companies had to pay about $400 a month but more recently the price has gone up to as much as double that. And the so called “mafia tax” demands as much as $1,500 from larger businesses.

Although police in Italy have had some success in overcoming the mob, apparently the protection racket is still a normal part of everyday life. Arson attacks and broken windows are reportedly the result of unpaid debts to the Mafia.

Allens grabs another trophy

Already renowned as being the Official Law Firm of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Allens Arthur Robinson, the Australian Law Firm of the Year, has grabbed itself another glowing accolade. Allens should now be proud to also be the sponsor and Official Law Firm for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

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